Posted: 2:00 pm Friday, March 2nd, 2018
By Staff Writer
Recently I was gifted the most remarkable thing; a portrait of my son, Zachariah.
There is a man, by the name of Michael G. Reagan, an internationally recognized artist who has an amazing heart and an amazing talent. I heard of Michael’s work some years ago; he’s drawn over 4500 portraits of fallen soldiers and given them to surviving family members free of charge.
He has also provided portraits of children lost to senseless violence in schools, including all victims of Columbine, Sandy Hook, and the many other horrific shootings. He is working currently on the most recent victims in Florida.
Michael lives in the same corner of the world as I do and our paths have crossed a few times. He drew my portrait, which hangs in my studio, many years ago. A few years back Michael attended one of my Fall Harvest parties, military themed to honor our men and women in uniform.
After I lost Zack, Michael wrote to me and asked for some photos of my son; he chose one that I think best captured Zack’s spirit. In it he’s wearing his green beanie, snowboarding jacket, and signature smile.
Michael visited me at the farm recently and presented me with Zacky’s portrait, which brought me to my knees. I am eternally grateful to Michael for this gift, and for the abundant generosity of his heart.
You can learn more about Michael and the remarkable work that he does at the Fallen Heroes Project web page. Donations are gratefully accepted.
March Book Club | I Can Only Imagine, a Friendship with Jesus Now and Forever
by Bart Millard
I Can Only Imagine, a Friendship with Jesus Now and Forever, by Bart Millard, founding member of the award-winning musical group, MercyMe, is my March Book Club pick!
First a hit song, then a book, a child’s version of the book (this one!), and now a major motion picture in theaters March 16, I Can Only Imagine was inspired by Bart’s personal loss; his father died of cancer when Bart was just 18.
The song not only topped the Christian music charts but was a cross-over hit to Top 40 and Billboards Adult Hot Contemporary, which illustrates the popularity of it’s universal theme.
Do you have a child or grandchild you would like to share God’s love with? (You know I have several!!!) Do you ever feel mystified in your response to their questions about heaven, or where Jesus lives?
Encourage their sense of wonder and faith with I Can Only Imagine, a beautiful picture book inspired by the hit song by MercyMe.
I Can Only Imagine asks questions a child might ask and invites families to wonder together: What is heaven like? What does God do? What would it be like to spend a day with Jesus?
Children will see that although experiencing the glory of heaven may be far off, we can enjoy a friendship with Jesus every day – right here on earth. Whimsical, playful illustrations and thought-provoking questions make this a book that families will cherish.
I love the adorable, fun and vibrant illustrations by Sumiti Colina. Friendly, playful, and vivid, the visual will help your children see that God can be found everywhere, every day.
Make sure you open up my Weekly Newsletters, where I’ll be giving directions later this month on how you could receive a free copy of this wonderful book!
Recipe | Hearty Black Bean and Vegetable Soup
For those cold winter days that will be with us just a bit longer, this perennial favorite of my family will fill you up and warm you up from the inside out.
Most of your time will be spent on prepping the veggies, and a little bit of whirling in a food processor or blender. After that, it’s basically just throw it in the pot and 20 minutes later, ladle out some deliciousness!
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
- In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, garlic, and carrots, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is softened.
- Add chili powder and cumin; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Add stock, 1 can of the beans, corn, and pepper; bring to boil.
- Meanwhile, in food processor or blender, puree together tomatoes and remaining can of beans; add to pot.
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.
Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream if you like and a big chunk of whole grain bread. MmmMmm!
How often have you heard the line “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”?
It’s used to refer to the often unpredictability of the weather in March, a very transitional month, as far as seasons go. It’s often windy and produces rain, hail, sometimes snow, intermixed with brilliant moments of calm and sunshine. So I get that whole lion thing… but lamb?
Well, perhaps some years or in some areas, but I find April to be much the same. More bright days, but the wind and the rest are still with us to be sure!
Here’s some other March idioms I found on the Farmer’s Almanac site. I’d never heard any of them (ok, April showers and May flowers, but not the March wind part!) Have you?
A dry March and a wet May? Fill barns and bays with corn and hay.
As it rains in March, so it rains in June.
March winds and April showers? Bring forth May flowers.
So many mists in March you see, so many frosts in May will be.
Is’t on Joseph’s day (19th) clear,
So follows a fertile year;
Is’t on Mary’s (25th) bright and clear,
Fertile is said to be the year.
So yeah, about that blustery March weather… I’m going to cheat.
For the second year in a row, I’ve been invited aboard Star Vista’s 1970’s Rock & Romance Cruise! I’m going to sneak way for a few days and join the Soft Rock party at sea. I fully expect only lamb-like balmy weather!
Aboard Celebrity Cruise Line’s “Summit” I’ll get to mix, mingle and chat with bands and musicians who created the sound we now identify with the 70’s and definitely created the soundtrack of my youth and my early career.
Styx will make a special appearance, along with Michael McDonald, America, Air Supply, War, Poco, BJ Thomas, Atlantic Rhythm Section, The Guess Who, Badfinger ft Joey Molland, and many, many more!
I’m excited about being able get the show to you while aboard a cruise ship; a departure from my usual studio routine. Isn’t technology amazing?!
When I’m not “working” (cough, cough) I’m going to be listening to some of the best music ever made, lounging poolside with a tall glass of iced tea and a book in my hand, and meeting and talking with people – my favorite hobby!
This year’s cruise is all booked up – completely FULL – but you can get in on next year’s party by following this link: 2019 Rock & Romance Cruise.
After a couple of days at sea, I’ll return to my own studio and daily life of kids, dogs, zebras, and chaos – which I love! I’ll miss Bae Paul’s kisses and Delilah Jr.’s antics for the few days we’ll be apart, but I suppose the sunshine and room service will help ease the missing just enough.
Happy March everyone, and as always, Love Someone!